Cathay Pacific asks staff to take unpaid leave because of coronavirus

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific Airways asked its 27,000 workers last week to take three weeks of unpaid leave as the Hong Kong carrier is having a hard time following plunging revenue because of coronavirus outbreak.

In a video message to workers, CEO Augustus Tang stated the situation is as grave as the 2009 financial crisis.

On Tuesday, Cathay declared a 90% reduction in flight capacity to mainland China, which has canceled group tours and informed business people to put off foreign travel while Beijing battles the outbreak centered on the city of Wuhan.

The airline slashed 30% of its global capacity for two months.

Workers were asked to take “special leave” some time between March 1 and June 30, according to the airline.

“Preserving cash is the key to protecting our business,” the airline stated.

The airline used the same “special leave” in 2009 and during the 2003 outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which also resuled in cuts in flights.

“I am appealing to each and everyone one of you to help,” Tang stated.

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